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Buddha Statue

Buddha Statue: A Symbol of a Religious Founder
The Buddha Statue is a symbol of Buddhism's ancient founder, Siddhartha Gautama, a prince from northern India. He lived from about 563 to 483 BC. Buddhism originated as a form of atheism. They abandoned the idea of a personal God (Ishvara) who controlled the eternal fate of souls. Gautama denied the ancient theistic beliefs, because he found it challenging to bring together the idea of suffering and evil with the existence of a righteous God.

Buddha Statue: A Symbol of the Enlightened One
The Buddha Statue signifies the "Enlightened One," the basic idol of Buddhism. Buddhism conveys the philosophy of self-perfection - its essentials are contained in the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhism adheres to various "scriptures." Buddhists hold the Pali Canon to be the oldest and most authoritative "scripture." The Four Noble Truths affirm that (i) life is full of suffering (dukkha); (ii) suffering is caused by craving (samudaya); (iii) suffering will cease only when craving ceases (nirodha); and (iv) this can be achieved by following the Noble Eightfold Path. Generally, the Path consists of right views, right aspiration, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right contemplation. Other Buddhist philosophies include the belief that nothing in life is permanent (anicca), that individual selves do not truly exist (anatta), that all is determined by an impersonal law of moral causation (karma), that reincarnation is an endless cycle of continuous suffering, and that the goal of life is to break out of this cycle by finally extinguishing the flame of life and entering a permanent state of pure nonexistence (nirvana).

Buddha Statue: A Symbol of a Belief System
The Buddha Statue represents a belief system that has evolved into three main philosophies:

  • Mahayana (the "Greater Vehicle") represents approximately 56% of the total Buddist population and is prominent in China, Japan and Korea. Over the years, Mahayana has opened itself to many different Asian beliefs and now treats Buddha as a god.
  • Theravada (the "Doctrine of the Elders") represents approximately 38% of the total Buddist population. Theravada is the closest to the original atheistic philosophy, and is principally followed in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and Myanmar (Burma).
  • Vajrayana (also known as Lamaism or Tantrism) represents the remaining 6% of Buddists and is primarily found in Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia. Vajrayana has added disturbing portions of shamanism and the occult.
  • Currently, there are approximately 613 million Buddists worldwide, with approximately 1.5 million living in the United States. Buddhism has been growing in the U.S. due to surges in Asian immigration, endorsement by celebrities in music and movies, and its close ties to the New Age Movement.

    Buddha Statue: A Symbol Hungry for Hope
    The Buddha Statue represents a philosophical belief system that's deeply concerned with overcoming suffering. The hope of nirvana is really a hope in finally ending the cycle of suffering in this world. The law of karma can be very rigid and impersonal. Under the Buddhist system of moral cause and effect there is no mercy and no forgiveness. Escape is only possible through a continuous cycle of good deeds and striving for "unattainable" self-perfection.

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